THE SHIP OF MONSTERS. Sotomayor, Mexico, 1960. Originally released as La nave de los monstruos. Eulalio Gonzalez, Ana Bertha Lepe, Lorena Velazquez. Written by Jose Maria Fernandez Unsain and Alfreda Verla Jr. Directed by Rugelio A. Gonzalez.

   I spend October reading scary books and watching old monster movies, and last month had its share of highs and lows: THE BODY SNATCHER, INVISIBLE GHOST, WHITE ZOMBIE, GODZILLA, BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS and others too humorous to mention. Some were brilliant, some abysmal, but nothing else this year was quite like SHIP OF MONSTERS.

   In fact, I don’t think there’s been a movie like this since THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (1935) a Musical-Comedy-Western-Sci-Fi serial of bizarre proportions. SHIP goes it one or two better, with Monsters and Babes, and being a feature film, it has the advantage of brevity (the soul of wit) over the Gene Autry chapter play.

   The story here has something to do with the planet Venus, populated by beautiful women ever since all the men killed each other in senseless wars. Nothing daunted, but perhaps a bit short-sighted, the Queen of Venus sends agents Gamma and Beta (the improbably-cantilevered Lepe and Velazquez) around the Galaxy to round up more males.

   Turns out the Venusian Vixens haven’t been able to find any guys, but to their credit (or in order to meet a quota) they have rounded up a goodly assortment of male monsters, kept in check by an imposing robot named Thor. With this entourage they land on Earth and meet Mexican Singing Cowboy Eulalio Gonzalez, proprietor of a one-cow ranch, who seems to split his time between singing in the saddle and Munchausening at the local cantina — which leads to predictable complications later on when he tries to warn everyone about the Monsters, but I’m getting ahead of the story.

   Gonzalez’s singing may be a matter of personal taste, but what he lacks in euphony he makes up for in persistence. He sings on every possible occasion and sometimes for no reason at all. He falls in love and he sings. He rides into town and he sings. He fights monsters and he sings. No one believes his warnings, and… you guessed it. He even does a duet with a vampiress trying to suck his blood.

   Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about the Vampiress. Turns out someone in Venusian HR screwed up and one of the space-gals (Velazquez, fondly remembered from DOCTOR OF DOOM [reviewed here ] is a vampire who decides to commandeer Thor the Robot (remember him?), free the monsters, conquer the Earth and gosh-knows what all.

   And oh yes: it’s up to Gonzalez to beat up the monsters, thwart her evil plans and romance the other Venus-Babe.

   This is Silliness on an epic scale, and everyone gives it its props. There’s a nifty set for the interior of the space ship, gruesome monster makeup, a flashy robot (who reappeared in one of the AZTEC MUMMY movies) and a plot that seems made up as it goes along, just like the games us kids used to play.

   In all, a film to sit back and enjoy, if you can switch off the brain for a bit. As for Gonzalez’s singing – is it too late to give the Nobel Prize to the guy who invented Fast-Forward?